Monday, May 21, 2012

Fuse Unearths Rare Footage of Brooklyn’s Finest, and I Don’t Mean the Movie!

Today would have been the Notorious B.I.G’s 40th birthday.  Many people continue to wonder what Hip-Hop would be like in the current era had he and Tupac lived.  Though I suspect things would be pretty much the same way they are now, Jay would have surely added at least one more collaboration album to the three that he has already done.  Both he and B.I.G were planning on forming an east coast supergroup called The Commission.  The Brooklyn dream team would have been its flagship members.  Alas, B.I.G’s murder put the kibosh on such plans.  Still, I wonder what it would have sounded like, especially if it would have been made in the late 1990’s.

Though such fantasies will never be fulfilled, Fuse has provided the next best thing.  They’ve unearthed footage of B.I.G and Jay performing the former’s verse from Junior M.A.F.I.A’s hit “Get Money” onstage at a birthday party for Video Music Box VJ Ralph McDaniels.  Jay plays hype man as Biggie swaggers through his verse.  In a recent profile for Fuse, Ralph McDaniels offered a bit of context for the clip:

"Every year, I had a birthday party," said McDaniels. "I wanted to get B.I.G. to host [it], but really I wanted him to perform. Jay-Z came with the whole Roc-A-Fella crew and they got on stage. I told the DJ, 'If Biggie gets on stage, play a Biggie song and we'll get him to perform.' DJ Ace threw on 'Get Money' and the whole crowd went crazy. B.I.G. looks at me like, 'I guess I'm supposed to perform now, right?' Jay-Z plays hypeman to B.I.G. on 'Get Money.' That just rang through the hood forever."

It’s a wonderful bit of NY Hip-Hop nostalgia, and shows the genesis of a partnership that would surely have been fruitful.  Though Pac fans may feel otherwise, Hip-Hop truly lost something special on March 9th, 1997.  Thankfully, small treats like this can allow old heads like me to relive the glory days.   This was a time when Cristal popped endlessly, and the east coast had a portly king.  Happy Birthday, B.I.G.  We miss you. 

*Special thanks to The Smoking Section for the scoop.

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